A bizarre, colorful and creative remake of the traditional circus, Cirque du Soleil first began in a small town near Quebec City in Canada. In the early eighties, a band of charismatic characters roamed the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music. Their genesis was on the streets, and since that time, this troupe of astounding acrobats and performers has never lost their love of those who come from humble or troubled histories.

The following statement is quoted from the Cirque du Soleil website:

“We strive to be a good neighbor at our offices and in the cities we visit by building relationships with communities through activities and programs that benefit at-risk youth. This cause is a natural fit for a company founded by street performers. We speak to youth in a language that is built into our DNA: Art.”

In late February the staff and residents were again blessed with free tickets to a Cirque du Soleil performance and if you have never attended one, you are indeed missing out. The boys of Youth-Reach have been provided this opportunity for several years now and each time this group comes to Houston, they contact us and invite us to their latest extravaganza.

Our boys receive, but they also give back. Going through life as takers has been the past paradigm for most of our boys, but at Youth-Reach this all changes. They are blessed with awesome opportunities and we love to expose them to healthy cultural events and activities. Yet, these blessings come with the expectation that there will also come a time to give back.

An opportunity to give back came our way soon enough. We were contacted by leaders of Houston Responds, a group that has taken on the enormous and forgotten task of remediating homes that are still uninhabitable after being flooded by Hurricane Harvey. Can you believe that there are disabled and elderly people who are still living in unhealthy homes, or staying in trailers waiting for the necessary help they will need to regain their homes?

We told the folks at Houston Responds that the Youth-Reach boys were not going to be too good at construction, but they are deeply gifted at destruction – so this is where our guys have been serving. They started with a tear out and they will be regularly put to work clearing debris, still-sodden insulation, and drywall from homes. They get pretty enthusiastic about these tear outs, as it seems to answer a bit of the aggression they feel.

Giving and receiving are both parts of a healthy life rhythm, and as the boys receive, they are learning to give. We are grateful for the many people who provide what is needed to keep Youth-Reach healthy and we are just as grateful for opportunities for our boys to give back.